Sunday, 21 December 2014

Book Goodies Feature

Thanks to all those kind people at who have just featured Unreliable Histories in their 'Humor' listings.

It begins with what is currently, I think, my favourite synopsis, followed by a short Q&A - i.e. "What Inspired You to Write Your Book?" and "How Did You Come up With Your Characters?" Those questions afforded an opportunity to witter on about fantasy cliches for a bit, which - incidentally - is pretty much what the books are about anyway.

The article ends with an excerpt from a scene in which Myrah and Al encounter a fundraising officer outside the Wizard's College in Tebit.

Oh, and in case anyone's interested, Unreliable Histories will be on free promotion on Amazon on Boxing Day.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam!

I'm not sure I've ever written a blog post with an exclamation mark in the title so this should go a long way to redressing any imbalance. That it also alludes to a classic Monthy Python sketch may be considered a bonus.

I was prompted to adopt this heading on the strength of a growing number of faintly bizarre emails that I've received recently. In one afternoon's trawl, I found several earnest behests to buy insurance policies that I very much don't need, others to spark up productive new relationships with traders in China, one or two invitations to commission SEO companies to send my "wesbite" (sic) soaring to stratospheric heights in Google's rankings, and several attempts to coerce me into visiting trade shows whose themes were so dull that they made growing my hair sound like a dangerously thrilling alternative.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Guest Post - Andy Paine

Continuing this mini-series of guest posts by indie authors, I'm very pleased to introduce Andy Paine - another writer I first encountered through Authonomy. He's a fellow member of the Comedy Literature Only Group (CLOG) and were it not for the fact that he has a tendency to gloat about Australia's superior weather, I think I'd be nominating him for some kind of award about now.

Over to you, Mr Paine.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Guest Post: Rob Wingfield

I mentioned in a previous post that I was minded to throw open the doors of the Null Room and to issue an invitation to a select band of indie writers to submit posts of their own.

I'm kicking off with Robert Wingfield - an author to whom I'm indebted for a number of things. Firstly, for introducing me to Authonomy, which has helped me to hone my first book into something resembling - well, a book - and secondly for providing much mirth and merriment via a series of comic novels, beginning with 'The Legend of Dan'. Finally, he was also the instigator of the INCA project, which seeks to support, promote and encourage independent writers. A laudable aim, I trust you'll agree.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

A Man for Two Seasons

I know I'm supposed to enjoy this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness but, quite frankly, I don't. It's another season closer to winter and I don't even want to talk about that.

I live in a part of the world that is absolutely wonderful - unsurpassable even - if your most eager wish involves the early onset of rheumatoid arthritis, but for anything else it's pretty much useless. The weather is so relentlessly drab that autumn marks what is effectively the end of all colour for a period of roughly half a year.

A friend recently applauded my beautiful "black and white" photograph of a hillside scene. I thanked her, naturally, but then had to point out that, actually, it wasn't a black and white photo at all; that was just how things look round here. And that makes the point, I think. I'm a creature who loves leaves and sunshine, warmth, colour and long hours of daylight, so this time of year feels like the start of a very long decline.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Only the facts have been changed...

A reviewer recently made some encouraging remarks about a scene in Unreliable Histories that was based closely on a real-life encounter involving a member of my family. I won't say which scene it was (mainly in the interests of protecting the not-so-innocent) but it did remind me how much scene-worthy material has been gathered over the years by my family and friends.

Some of it I may be able to work into a future novel so, for now, I'll keep those tales close to my chest, but other examples only work when you know they really happened.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Kindness of Strangers

I never expected that writing a couple of books would change my life, but we all make mistakes.

I mean, don't get me wrong:  I'm not yet battering away seething ranks of cheque-waving publishing executives. Nor, thus far at least, has any financial planning consultant come to me with the earnest advice that  I should give up the day job and devote the rest of my life to penning comic novels from a beach bar in the Caribbean. Those kinds of fondly imagined developments will have to wait a little longer.

What has changed is my view of other writers and what, for the purposes of finding a suitably interesting title for this post, I shall call the kindness of strangers.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

What's It All About? (The Joy of Text)

I published my second novel last week so both parts of 'The Written World' are now online and waiting for the world to take notice.  However, the world itself seems to have been a little distracted of late - what with all its wars, political instabilities, live talent shows and everything - so, in an effort to accelerate this notice-taking process, I've been contacting a few indie reviewers and asking if they wouldn't mind taking a look. Quite naturally, one of the first questions they've tended to ask is what the books are about.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Doe Snot

I've been spending the last few days proof reading my second novel. Actually, that makes it sound as though I've been locked away in a box doing nothing but poring over endless pages of prose but the truth of it is that I've been fitting it around lots of other, much more exciting things - things like sleeping, emptying bins and examining my fingernails.

Friday, 21 March 2014

International Day of Happiness

It was with some surprise that I learned that today is the International Day of Happiness.

That's all very lovely, of course - what with me being a big fan of happiness and all - but I'm always compelled to wonder how you go about getting a place on the panel that decides these things. I think I might quite like that job.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Things Left Unsaid

It's a month now since the death of Sir Tom Finney. It was touching to see so many people turn out for his funeral - flags, flowers and football scarves in hand - and to hear them say such positive things about him. It was heartening because he was without any doubt an extremely decent fellow and such individuals deserve to be celebrated.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

My Cat May be Trying to Seduce Me

Well, I say 'my' cat but it was actually my wife and daughter who decided that what the household most badly needed was a sadistic, wildlife-murdering parasite that would damage the furniture, soil the neighbours' gardens and slowly but inexorably fill the forgotten corners of every room with the partially chewed remains of small rodents. After a brief but frank exchange in which I made clear my strong opposition to the whole proposition of cat ownership, the two of them out-voted me, drove off to a cat rescue centre and brought home with them the most prodigiously stupid and incontinent animal they could find. That was about nine years ago now and he hasn't improved with age.